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The ‘Nothing’ Guide to Review Management

Review Management

Asking residents who posted a less-than-stellar review to return to the website and write an update to their situation is one way to create an authentic online story.

Lia Nichole Smith, VP of Education and Performance for SatisFacts and ApartmentRatings, shares these cautions and tips about handling resident reviews.

Nothing to filter—Solicit unilaterally.

Review-gating is the practice of prohibiting or discouraging negative reviews or selectively soliciting positive reviews. It is frowned upon because the mere practice is discriminatory and can be bad for business. Cherry-picking five-star reviews instead of encouraging authentic feedback prevents apartment community teams from understanding and addressing opportunities for improvement. The overall resident experience will not get better if the only reviews posted were written by satisfied residents.

Nothing but solutions—Recover successfully.

Tales written about how an apartment community recovered from resident’s negative experience can be just as powerful as a positive review. Asking residents who originally posted a less-than-stellar review to return to the website and write an update to their situation not only provides the reader with a complete series of events, it can also work wonders by demonstrating how the community was able to bounce back and make things right. Onsite teams deserve to get credit for transforming a negative experience into a positive one.

Nothing but compassion—Respond humanely.

Imagine receiving a compliment or complaint from someone in a face-to-face situation. The response would probably sound more conversational than robotic. When dealing with online reviews, validating a resident’s experience with a genuine voice proves the feedback was not only appreciated, it was taken seriously. Readers who repeatedly come across phrases such as “we strive to provide” in the responses written by the management team may infer that the team employs a similar copy-and-paste approach during offline encounters as well. Every resident wants to feel as if they are being treated as “special” by management and replies written with authenticity reinforces that.

A thoughtful, tailored response is the personal touch to complement a manager’s solid customer service skills.

— Adapted from the blog, “Positive Review Peril: 5 Steps to an Authentic Online Story” by Smith in March.